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Jean McIntyre

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Jean McIntyre talks about how smart small businesses can use the opportunity of the introduction of the Carbon Price on July 1 to really highlight their environmental credentials to the market.

By Jean McIntyre

Well, Mr Abbot and the Coalition are doing a damn fine job of peddling to the public about the alleged huge impact the Carbon Price will have on households.

They are already gearing many businesses up to start charging much higher prices on everything – to be blamed of course on the carbon price.

A few things are definitely true.  Yes, the price of some things will go up.  Yes, some businesses that currently benefit from cheaper products created by companies that have little regard for their impact on the environment – will suffer.  Polluters will pay and people that buy from polluters will pay.  And yes, those businesses will likely try to pass on their increased costs to their consumers.

So, you may ask, how could this be of benefit to small businesses?

Innovate on the environment

The great thing about being a small business is that you can easily choose (and quickly change) your suppliers, your consumption habits and your practices to be much more environmentally responsible.

There are a few programmes available to help small businesses to get on board with smart enviro practices.  Click here to see what the ACT Government has to offer.

If you are able to make significant changes to your business, you’ll find that three things will happen:  first,  you’ll reduce your costs over time (by buying from suppliers unencumbered by the carbon price); second, you may gain carbon credits which you may at some time in the future be able to trade – at the very least you’ll contribute positively to the environment and third, people will start to take note and choose your business over others that don’t have such practices.

The easiest way to limit your exposure to the carbon price is to buy from suppliers who don’t pollute or who don’t buy from polluters.

Tony Abbot Creates an Opportunity for Business

There’s no doubt about it.  Mr Abbot has the general population running scared.  People are walking around with furrowed brows – waiting for the cost of living to become unmanageable.

Come first of July, people will be paying very close attention to prices and on the lookout for businesses that put them up.

This is your opportunity – if you have taken action to improve your environmental practices – including procurement – for your business, you will be able to declare that you have NO CARBON PRICE INCREASES and that you are an environmentally responsible business.  If it works for Coles and Woolworths it can work for you.

There will be no time like right now to establish your environmental credentials and reputation in the market.

What are you waiting for?

So my advice is to get on with it.  Take the next few days and weeks to review all your suppliers, put in place better waste management strategies, work on saving energy and water and – well – get out and plant some trees :).

The reward should be new and loyal customers and a reputation as good corporate citizens.

I’d love to hear about what are your plans for your business to benefit from the Carbon Price.

Jean Mc

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Jean McIntyre talks about how small business people can use YouTube to get their message out and attract attention to their website.

By Jean McIntyre ( Marketing Angels)

Last year I posted on 5 things small business owners can do over the slow period to boost their business.  One of those was to make a YouTube video.  This month I’d like to explore that a bit because it’s a lot of fun and can be a great tool for your business.

So here’s my ideas on what you could do on YouTube:

  1. Get someone you know to write a song about your business and how great it is, get your staff and some customers together to sing it and record it with a video camera.  Get some free online editing software and add your logo, credits and some key messages on the end.
  2. Record yourself working on your computer doing whatever you do (writing a training program, designing a logo, entering bookkeeping data, preparing a tax return).  Record a commentary over the top about the key steps in the process – of course with your branding attached.
  3. Identify 5 tips in your area of expertise and record a video of you with a whiteboard – going through the 5 tips and explaining them in detail.  Tip: if you are going to record yourself wear a nice suit or dress, do your hair and makeup so you look your best.
  4. Think of something you are expert at (let’s say it’s staff recruitment), write a script about it and hold (and film) a puppet show about it.  You can get your family or your staff to make some really interesting puppets and nice backdrops.

Those are the cheap ways to get on You Tube.  Of course if you have some resources to put into it you can get a short video professionally produced and put it up.

A warning about both options though,  people love to share videos – particularly of people doing interesting things.  But if your video is just a film version of your marketing material – trust me – people won’t view it or comment on it and certainly won’t email or re-post it for others to view.

The way to get it shared online is to make it intersting.  Videos that are funny, quirky, controversial or tug at the heart (or purse) strings will more easily get traction on YouTube.

So get to it.

Nothing to stop you from sitting in front of your webcam and giving it a go.  Don’t forget though to put a link to your website on your video so people can find you.  Also use the tools on YouTube to post it to Facebook, Twitter, your blog and any other social media sites you are involved with.

I’d be really pleased to see some links from readers to videos they’ve put on You Tube.

Jean Mc

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tips on branding and design canberra

We’re still disseminating some of our knowledge to prospective and current clients through email campaigns at the moment. Those on our lists will be getting regular emails with tips on design and branding issues pertinent to small and medium business.

You can find the latest from the Luxgraphicus website.

So that Canberra Small Business Blog readers don’t miss out, I’ll be posting bundled sets of tips here in my regular spot.

Please make comment or feedback on anything you find interesting, confusing, in need of more detail or otherwise worthy of comment. I look forward to developing a dialogue over the coming weeks and months.

7 tips on website management

  1. If design is not your profession, hire a professional.
  2. Make sure your website looks like all your other marketing material (follow your brand rules).
  3. Make regular updates to your site. (clients and search engines like this)
  4. Check your statistics and title tags. (some easy SEO here. That’s Search Engine Optimisation!)
  5. Use a local (Australian) and reliable host.
  6. Learn how to use the sites CMS. (Content Management System)
  7. Use your key marketing messages to direct your visitors to where you want them to go.

7 tips on taming your designer (or getting the most from your designer)

  1. Brief your design professional on your audience and messages.
  2. Let them offer options and ask them why these options will work.
  3. Provide real deadlines. (not just asap, or before lunch!)
  4. Provide feedback and amendments promptly. (so they still remember the job. It may even still be up on their screen!)
  5. Define the scope of your task in the briefing. (this will allow for costs to be estimated up-front)
  6. Provide feedback based on the original briefing scope and direction.
  7. Don’t rely on them to spell correctly! (proof read carefully)

5 tips on electronic publishing

  1. Save on print costs with on-demand printing from PDF.
  2. Apply your brand to everything inc. emails, blogs, PDF downloads, etc…
  3. Make your reports available as PDF downloads from your website.
  4. Send your brochures or fliers to clients as PDF’s by email.
  5. Ask your design professional to make them interactive too!

 

See you next time, and remember, the best businesses are watching their branding!

Brian Miller
Creative Director
Luxgraphicus Design Agency

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branding and design

We’re still disseminating some of our knowledge to prospective and current clients through email campaigns at the moment. Those on our lists will be getting regular emails with tips on design and branding issues pertinent to small and medium business.

You can find the latest from the Luxgraphicus website.

So that Canberra Small Business Blog readers don’t miss out, I’ll be posting bundled sets of tips here in my regular spot.

Please make comment or feedback on anything you find interesting, confusing, in need of more detail or otherwise worthy of comment. I look forward to developing a dialogue over the coming weeks and months.

10 tips on re-newing your brand for growth

  1. If design is not your profession, hire a professional.
  2. Research your audience.
  3. Ask, why re-brand?
  4. Brief your design professional on your messages and audience.
  5. Consider a wide range of options.
  6. Let go of previous solutions.
  7. Package your “stuff” (visual collateral) to keep costs under control.
  8. Use the change to promote your business more, or differently.
  9. Plan to phase out ALL old material.
  10. Ask your design professional for a set of rules for application to ALL your “stuff” (visual collateral).
  11. Ask your design professional for an ongoing review of your branding.

(oops, that’s eleven!)

5 tips on email marketing management

  1. Keep your emails short and fun.
  2. Allow unsubscribes.
  3. Make your emails look like all your other marketing material (follow your brand rules)
  4. Use HTML emails (they look better and nearly everyone can see them).
  5. Track opens and click throughs on links.
  6. Build your database with online subscription web forms.

(still having trouble counting!)

 

See you next time, and remember, the best businesses are watching their branding!

Brian Miller
Creative Director
Luxgraphicus Design Agency

Read Full Post »

branding and design

We’re still disseminating some of our knowledge to prospective and current clients through email campaigns at the moment. Those on our lists will be getting regular emails with tips on design and branding issues pertinent to small and medium business.

You can also follow these tips regularly on the Luxgraphicus blog.

So that Canberra Small Business Blog readers don’t miss out, I’ll be posting bundled sets of tips here in my regular spot.

Please make comment or feedback on anything you find interesting, confusing, in need of more detail or otherwise worthy of comment. I look forward to developing a dialogue over the coming weeks and months.

7 tips on design for start-up businesses

If design is not your profession, hire a professional.
Research your audience.
Brief your design professional on your messages and audience.
Get your brand design done before your website, business card and brochure.
Plan ALL your requirements, then get some done now.
Get the others done later by the same designer.
Ask your design professional for an ongoing review of your branding.

10 tips on re-freshing your brand

If design is not your profession, hire a professional.
Keep all your “stuff” (visual collateral) consistent.
Look to “modernise” your logo (keep it’s shape and intent, change its feel and appeal)
Add some new graphics and text treatments
Compliment your standard colour palette with a few new ones.
Choose a small set of iconic images for your marketing and promotion
Change the format (shape & size) of some material.
Change the delivery method of some material.
Use a quality paper stock for your key material.
Ask your design professional for an ongoing review of your branding.

See you next time, and remember, the best businesses are watching their branding!

Brian Miller
Creative Director
Luxgraphicus Design Agency

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Helping Canberra small businesses to Get Smarter Marketing

By Jean McIntyre (Marketing Angels)

Jean Mc talks about how it’s important to identify your business’ unique selling proposition so that it’s clear to your most lucrative market that yours is the best business to serve their needs.

I had coffee today with the lovely Maria Taylor from The District Bulletin and we talked a lot about marketing – how advertising fits in to a marketing strategy but also how businesses need to really get clear on exactly who they are marketing to.

I’ve said it many times before but one can’t say it too much.  Marketing is all about understanding markets and having the right messages that appeal to the markets that are most lucrative to your business.  It sounds simple but most businesses get it wrong.

Well – Not That Simple

It is simple but there’s a rub.  Business people can’t help but think of all the possible sales they might get and they don’t want to miss out on any possible sale.  From a marketing perspective that’s just the wrong approach.

It’s true that there may simply be billions of people out there that, should they hear about your business, might be inclined to buy from you.  Trouble is – that getting to them all is prohibitively costly even with the advent of the internet.

The other thing that marketing is all about is resources.

A marketing strategy is simply a plan that determines exactly where are the best places to spend your money to access the people that are MOST LIKELY to want your products and buy them.  You choose a market according to how well your business can serve their needs and how easily you can communicate your messages with them.

What Determines Your Market

There are a few parameters that you should consider when establishing where your marketing dollar will be spent.  This is usually determined by your resources (people, skills, experience) and limitations (money and accessibility).  There’s just no point in choosing a market that has loads of money to spend if it’s impossible for you to communicate with it.

Markets generally need to meet four criteria: they must be sustainable; they must be able to be clearly identified and measured; they must be able to be reached and the must be responsive to your offering.

Here are just some of the more common characteristics that businesses can use to determine their market.

Geography

The extent to which geography determines your market depends on the type of business you have.  If your business relies on interaction with people then you will generally be limited to the area to which your people can travel.

If for example your business is soccer coaching and your customers are mums and dads that have to drive their kids from school to soccer – then its likely that you’ll limit your market to a small geographic area like Tuggeranong or Woden.

If this was the case then it would be silly to spend money on advertising in the Sydney Morning Herald and you would likely make better use of local networks to promote your business.  Of course if you franchise your business then it’s a different kettle of fish but still – each local area will have the same considerations.

Age

In marketing we call them ‘Cohorts’.  It’s not the only way you can break up age in to markets but it’s the best known approach.  You’ve heard them:  ‘Baby Boomer’, ‘Generation X’, ‘Generation Y’ etc.  Over time the things that happen in history, politics and society give particular age groups shared experiences that add together to affect their values, likes, dislikes and opinions.  These things impact on the behaviour – in particular spending habits of particular groups that make them good prospects for certain companies.

Of course each individual in the group is unique – but there are characteristics that are generally shared that make targetting the whole age group an efficient use of resources.

Here’s a description of Baby Boomers that I love from Marketing Textbook ‘Essentials of Marketing’ (Summers et al 2003 pg 438).

“…baby boomers are concerned with their children, their jobs and their retirement.  Nevertheless, some things will never change: they are a little selfish about their leisure time, a little careless about the way they spend their money, remain suspicious of the status quo, and they will always love rock ‘n’ roll.”

If this looks like a market that your business can serve you can use what you know about them to shape your messages and find the places that they’d be likely to congregate (in person and online).   Thinking again about advertising – if, for example, your business sold camping equipment – then you might think about creating messages about enjoying your leisure and your marketing might include advertising in a retirement magazine and networking with over 55’s groups to get your message out.

You wouldn’t advertise at a Raiders game.  Just because it’s possible that SOME of your market might be there – you are paying big money to deliver a message to a huge audience most of which isn’t interested in what you have to say.

Income

Of course – there’s no point in marketing to a group of people that can’t afford or aren’t willing to pay the price you want to get for your products.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has really good figures on how many people are in each income quintile (incomes are divided into 5 groups) and how much they spend on each category of product each week.  Using this you can establish the size of your market, determine how much of this market you are capable of capturing and how much you can earn from it.  This will help you establish what your marketing budget should be to reach them.

Other Segmentation Bases

In marketing we call breaking up the market into smaller more managing groups ‘segmentation’ and the things I have described are what we call ‘bases’ or characteristics.

There are other segmentation bases that are frequently used such as psychographics (personality, values, livestyles, motivations); family life cycle; product use frequency and benefits.  Each of these are appropriate ways to choose a market for your business to serve.

Get Choosy

When it comes down to it – business people need to get a bit fussy about who they choose to market to.

Stop thinking about those trillions of dollars you could earn from the billions of people out there – you are NEVER going to be able to reach them all – not with your small budget.

Start thinking about which markets will give you the best return on your marketing investment and start going after them with passion, commitment and your unique style.

I’d love to hear about what characteristics you’ve used to choose your market and why.

Jean Mc

References:

Summers J, Gardiner M, Lamb C, Hair J, McDaniel C;  ‘Essentials of Marketing’ 2003, Thompson Publishing Victoria Australia

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tips on branding and design canberra

We’re disseminating some of our knowledge to prospective and current clients through email campaigns at the moment. Those on our lists will be getting regular emails with tips on design and branding issues pertinent to small and medium business.

You can also follow these tips regularly on the Luxgraphicus blog.

So that Canberra Small Business Blog readers don’t miss out, I’ll be posting bundled sets of tips here in my regular spot.

Please make comment or feedback on anything you find interesting, confusing, in need of more detail or otherwise worthy of comment. I look forward to developing a dialogue over the coming weeks and months.

7 tips on why branding?

  1. Your client’s perception of your business is based on how they see you.
  2. They “see” you at every contact point with your business.
  3. This impression is created in a second.
  4. Their perception is often unconscious.
  5. This perception is often not a considered decision.
  6. To your client, their perception IS reality.
  7. When this perception is positive, potential sales become clients, and clients become advocates.

Why are the best businesses watching their branding?

5 tips on branding your business

  1. If design is not your profession, hire a professional.
  2. Review your brand and it’s purpose regularly (every 6 months).
  3. Apply brand rules across ALL aspects of your business.
  4. Apply brand rules ALL the time.
  5. Be consistent and stick to a single solution.

5 tips on managing your brand

  1. Review your brand regularly (every 6 months).
  2. Follow a checklist to make sure everything is considered.
  3. Create a system of rules.
  4. Make sure everyone follows the rules.
  5. Keep all your “stuff” (visual collateral) safe and retrievable.

See you next time, and remember, the best businesses are watching their branding!

Brian Miller
Creative Director
Luxgraphicus Design Agency

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